Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Why I Love Urban Fantasy

Books are my life. Truly. If I’m not reading, or writing, I feel lonely—almost as if someone I loved went missing. Personally, I love urban fantasy and science fiction more than almost any other genre, although I’ve been known to read mysteries and thrillers as well. Why do I love urban fantasy so much? Well, answering that question could take hours, so I decided to tell you the top seven things I love most about the genre.

1. NO SOCCER MOMS: Don’t get me wrong, I think soccer moms are great. I just don’t want to read about them. Regular day-to-day life is boring enough. When I read fiction, I want to hear about women who lead a different life than I do, female characters who can save the world if necessary. Writers like Kelly Gay—with her police officer, Kim Harrison—with her bounty-hunting witch, and Patricia Briggs—with her shapeshifting mechanic, have all shaped and helped to re-define women by giving them roles where they are leaders in their community.

2. GRITTY WRITING: I love noir writing, dark twisted stories and rough characters. I like knowing that the lead character has dirt under his fingernails and that he’s got the skills to fight and win. I crave blood and guts and steamy settings. Writers like William Gibson (Neuromancer) and Richard Kadrey (Sandman Slim) and Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files) deliver that and more. And I know that William Gibson is technically classified as a writer of cyberpunk, but I love him so much that I just had to add him in the mix.

3. HOT MONSTERS: I fell in love with monsters when I was teenager. Vincent Price was my hero and I watched his films on a regular basis. Monsters ruled back in the ’50s and the ’60s. Classics like The War of the Worlds (Martian monsters), Dracula (vampires), The Mummy (monsters from the grave), Night of the Living Dead (zombies), and Rosemary’s Baby (demons) have all paved the way for the monster trend we’re experiencing in fiction today. I loved monsters back then and I still love them today.

4. YA LIT: I love literary writing, especially when a story crosses that bridge between poetry and fantasy. YA authors like Carrie Ryan (The Forest of Hands and Teeth), Malinda Lo (Ash), Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder), Holly Black (Tithe), and Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely) have all hit the literary nail on the head in my opinion. I could read their books over and over, because their stories are so rich and their writing is so lush.

5. MYTHS AND LEGENDS: Myths and legends—which evolve and change with each retelling—touch us on a deep, subconscious level. These primal tales come from our distant past; they’ve been written and rewritten until they’ve become part our collective subconscious—if a collective subconscious even exists. When these stories are at their most fantastical, their raw, visceral elements can make even the most intellectual, left-brained person pause and wonder.

6. PARANORMAL: Life doesn’t fit in a neat little box. There will always be things that we either can’t understand or can’t explain. I believe that the supernatural is forever entwined with the mundane—we just can’t see it for what it truly is. That’s why I love stories with paranormal characters or elements. They allow us to pull back the veil and see what might be on the other side. Paranormal stories force us to consider that there might more to this world than what we can see on the surface.

7. SETTING: Whether the story is set in a dystopian future (like Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins) or in a recognizable city (like New Orleans in my novel, Afterlife), I love it when the setting actually becomes a character. Also known as milieu, this story element adds both realism and believability to the book. This is why setting is so important in fantasy—if the writer misses here, he or she could easily lose the reader.

So, now you know what I love about urban fantasy. I’d really like to hear your thoughts. To get this comment party started, I’m giving away a signed copy of my upcoming novel, Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles.

Just post a comment below to be entered for the book giveaway. Contest ends Wednesday, Sept. 27. Winner to be announced on Thursday, September 28. The winner has 3 days to contact me, or I will award the book to another commenter.

24 comments:

  1. OMG, I am first!! . I love the kick-butt female leads in most UF. The world's built are so diverse and clever sometimes. And who doesn't love a good alpha-male...I also love it when a writer can take a known legend/myth and twist it in a unique way.

    Can't wait for Afterlife, thanks for the chance to win it Merrie!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sharon,
    Hi! And thanks for being first! Great reasons why you love UF.
    =)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love urban fantasy books because a great book for me is a book with action, humor and romance and great characters that I can identify with, and UF books almost always have that.

    I would love to win your book thank you for the oppotunity:-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Sharon,'Thanks for the giveaway or I might have never found your blog.

    Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. This one is on my must read list!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mysteriousrose,
    Love your reasons! And thanks so much for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Danielle,
    Hi! I'm glad you found my blog!
    =)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Pacey1927,
    That's so awesome! And thank you for stopping by my blog.
    =)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Congratulation's. Will be on my tbr list :-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Deborah,
    Thanks so much! Those words are music to a writer's ears. =)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great giveaway! Can't wait to read Afterlife!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hello,

    I'm a soccer mom! I coach 2 teams! OMG, PLEASE take me away in a book! I SO agree about not wanting to read about someone's everyday, espcecilly when it's not very different from my own! books= escape. I'm hoping to win your Afterlife book. Sounds exciting! If you'd like to do an author interview on my blog, let me know! Good luck with your ventures in the "alter-life"...wow, I kill myself sometimes!! LOL, I really should get paid for this! J/K Take care.

    http://soapboxinmymind.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've been a follower!

    I also love UF. I really love kick-ass women. Those that aren't afraid of doing the right thing.

    books (dot) things (At) yahoo (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Soap Box in My Mind,
    Thanks so much for the comment--I love it! I completely agree about not wanting to read about everyday life. My life is boring enough!
    =)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Melissa,
    Thanks so much for following my blog! And I love take-charge women too. They're such great role models, much better than we had about 20 years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I feel just like you do. I remember the first time I saw Buffy the Vampire Slayer I was just floored. "OMG, she's kicking evil's butt!" It wasn't til years later I got into urban fantasy and loved it even more for all the reasons you mentioned.

    I've always said that I liked to read and watch evil getting it's butt kicked because it doesn't happen that way in real life all the time:)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Why I love urban fantasy...I love the strong heroines. They're the strong female types and they are not without flaws. They have attitudes that I find appealing and realistic in their given situations.

    The guys are usually great too. And the little bit of romance--like that there's only a little--is usually really great too. Intense and heart-rendering yet it's not there a whole lot which just makes the scenes given all the more awesome.

    The humor, like I said, is fantastic. The characters are witty and sarcastic. There's a good deal of action and terrific pacing.

    The question really comes down to: "What's NOT to love?"!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I just love the different elements found in urban fantasy. Besides the different monsters and creatures you can get a bit of romance, some action, and kick ass heroes and heroines that together make a pretty good combination.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I absolutely love all things Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. And all the reason are listed above! I guess I'm a little late, LOL. I love your HOT MONSTERS, No SOCCER MOMS, HOT MONSTERS, PARANORMAL, HOT MONSTERS...wait, did I already say that? Well, those are my top reason for loving it. *grin*

    I love to sit in my little corner of the couch, have the hubby take the munchkins outside and just travel to new or faraway worlds to meet amazing, kick ass and super hot characters. It's like a mini-vacation! =)

    Congrats on your release coming up in just 10 days! YAY!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I agree with all 7 reasons! I use the same reasons to jusitfy my reading xD

    ReplyDelete
  21. My love of urban fantasy definitely started with my love of myths and legends. I love greek & roman mythology with Clash of the Titans being my fav. (The classic version, not the new one). Buffy just grew that love and added the vamps. Plus of course, the kick-ass heriones. Girl power all the way.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks so much to all of you for dropping by and posting comments! I am loving all of them. You all rock!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love this post! YA literature are my favourite!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Oooh, how did I miss this post? Probably ebcause I didn't know your blog existed yet.... Urban fantasy rocks in general and Holly Black in particular. Definitely the literary kind...

    ReplyDelete